Keeping warm on the motorcycle

November 11th, 2006

Winter is here, more or less, so it is time to get warmer on the motorcycle. A heated jacket liner from Warm n Safe and grip warmers by Dual Star are the solution that should get me through any kind of weather I’m likely to see on my commute.

The jacket liner is excellent. It has wires throughout that keep me toasty. The collar is fairly high, so it eliminates the cold breeze that you get above most jacket collars, below your helmet. The jacket is hot enough that at 50 degrees (F) and 80 mph, I can’t run it higher than about 50% output. The speed on the bike has a huge effect on how high I need to run it. During my commute, I need to adjust the power levels as my speeds vary with traffic.

The grip warmers let me wear my Summer weight gloves down to about 45 degrees (F). They do not get as warm as the liner, so I’m more likely to run them near full output. Putting in the grip warmers was very easy. The old grips came off by slipping a screw driver under the grip and spraying hairspray to make it slippery.

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  • The grip heater before installation. The red and blue wires connect to separate paths to the common ground, in white.
The grip warmer, before installation.

  • Removing the hand grips with a little hairspray and a screwdriver.
Removing the old grip.

  • A naked throttle grip, ready for action.
The throttle, without grip, ready for the warmer.

  • The clutch side grip warmer installed. It has a self adhesive back. Grips slide right over it.
The warmer installed on the clutch side.

  • With a piece of the fairing removed, it was easy to tun the wires from the fuse box to the cockpit.
Wiring from the fuse box to the front is easy hide if you pull off some body work.

Both items are controlled with a Heat-Troller, by Warm n Safe. This dial switch controls the power level by cycling on and off. When the dial is in the half power position, the controller is off 50% of the time. The cycle time is less than a second, so you don’t notice that they are turning off. This sort of arrangement is great for heated clothing, because it lowers the power consumption when you don’t need it. If a regular rheostat was used, the rheostat would just “eat” any unneeded power by increasing its resistance. I don’t think the motorcycle has a lot of spare electrical power, so it is better to be as efficient as possible.

With all this electrical work, and more to come, I added an auxiliary fuse box to the bike. The AP-1, by Centech gives me a set of 8 fused outlets to tap for my power needs. The lead to the AP-1 is fused and controlled by a relay, so that when the bike is off, there is no power to any accessories. The Heat-Trollers connect to the AP-1. The grips are hard wired to one Heat-Troller, the second Heat-Troller has a connector that I plug the liner into.

  • This shows the Centech Ap-1 fuse box, the relay (with the sliver connector), the two heartollers for the grips and the jacket and a lot of wiring.
All this electrical work just fits under the seat.


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